Cartouche of Ambition


Format Legality
Pre-release Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Penny Dreadful Legal
Standard Legal
Leviathan Legal
Legacy Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Casual Legal
Unformat Legal
Pauper Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Amonkhet (AKH) Common

Combos Browse all

Cartouche of Ambition

Enchantment — Aura

Enchant creature you control

When Cartouche of Ambition enters the battlefield, you may put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.

Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 and lifelink

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Cartouche of Ambition Discussion

multimedia on Challenger Decklists announced

18 hours ago

To see if these new Challenger decks can in fact be good out of box for $30 with no upgrades I've been testing Counter Surge vs the rest of the decks.

Counter Surge is good out of box it's wrecking the rest of them mostly because the manabase is so much better than Vehicle Rush and Second Sun Control because of 8x Golgari dual lands Aether Hub and Foul Orchard. Being able to produce enough energy to power Hub gives the deck a huge advantage.

3x Verdurous Gearhulk is basically not fair compared to the other decks. Blossoming Defense wrecks Hazoret Aggro. Glint-Sleeve Siphoner wrecks Second Sun Control because Aether Meltdown doesn't stop it from attacking gaining energy. Longtusk Cub and Walk the Plank are the worst cards in the deck and could easily be cut for Servant of the Conduit or Merfolk Branchwalker and Moment of Craving. 3x Dreamstealer is one too many.

Budget upgrades for Counter Surge:

  1. Cut 4x Cub for 4x Servant or Branchwalker
  2. Cut 1x Dreamstealer and 2x Walk the Plank for 3x Moment of Craving
  3. Cut 2x Appetite for the Unnatural for 2x Naturalize
  4. Cut 1x Slice in Twain for 1x Lost Legacy
  5. Cut 1x Cartouche of Ambition for 1x Crook of Condemnation

Vehicle Rush has a great decklist out of box, the best of the decks, but the manabase is shit. It's also missing Abrade in the 75 cards. The manabase is relying too much on Spire of Industry it needs 4x Inspiring Vantage. Aether Hub doesn't make sense for the deck other than using this land as an appealing reason to buy this product. Buy it for the complete decklist and put some money or trade into upgrading the manabase with Vantage. 4x Heart is a big draw it's still Standard legal for the rest of the year. A card or more could be printed in the next few sets that could break Heart again.

Budget upgrades for Vehicle Rush:

  1. Cut 3x Hub for 3x more Vantage
  2. Cut 2x Evolving Wilds for 1x more Dragonskull Summit and 1x more Swamp
  3. Cut 2x Lightning Strike for 2x Abrade
  4. Cut 3x Harsh Mentor for 1x more Abrade, 1x more Cast Out and 1x Ixalan's Binding

Hazoret Aggro is not good out of box it lacks punch; it needs Earthshaker Khenra and Invigorated Rampage to make up for having only one Hazoret. Harsh Mentor doesn't do enough for the deck to warrant main deck spots. It's a sideboard card in Vehicle Rush, but some reason it's a main deck card in Hazoret Aggro?

4x Fanatical Firebrand is very lackluster. 8x main deck burn spells that can go to the face and 4x Ahn-Crop Crasher are saving graces for the deck. Crasher is the best card in the deck because you draw it much more than singleton Hazoret, Chandra or Glorybringer. 4x Chandra's Defeat in the sideboard is strange as it hits very few cards vs all the other decks. 2x Defeat and 2x more Abrade is better to stop Verdurous and Heart. Buy this product purely for the three stand out cards: Chandra, Hazoret and Glorybringer.

Budget upgrades for Hazoret Aggro:

  1. Cut 3x Mentor for 3x Earthshaker
  2. Move 2x Pia Nalaar from sideboard to main deck replacing 2x Firebrand
  3. Cut 2x Magma Spray for 2x Invigorated Rampage
  4. New sideboard: 3x Spray, 2x Mentor, 2x more Abrade, 2x Defeat, 2x Kari Zev's Expertise, 2x more Rampage, 2x Key

Second Sun Control is the worst of the decks out of box. You need more time to cast Approach of the Second Sun better cards to delay your opponent. The manabase could be better needs budget 4x Meandering River or 2-4x Aether Hub or both. You need to be able to hit double white, but 12x Islands which includes 2x Ipnu Rivulet is not helping. Aether Meltdown and Glimmer of Genius can power Hub.

The lack of Essence Scatter in the 75 cards is confusing, to upgrade start by including 3-4x Scatter. Kefnet is not a very good second win condition, but it's the Mythic in the deck, can't cut it right? A second copy of Settle the Wreckage would of been better than a second Kefnet.

The best thing about Meltdown is flash, but overall it's not a good card because it doesn't prevent the creature enchanted by it from attacking which is not good vs Bomat Courier or Glint-Sleeve, two of the best cards in these decks vs Control. It is however good to stop Heart of Kiran, but I would cut some for Baffling End because it can exile Scrapheap Scrounger, Earthshaker, Dreamstealer as well as Glint-Sleeve or Bomat all these creatures are hard for Control to deal with. 4x Cast Out, 4x Censor, 4x Supreme Will, 3x Fumigate, 1x Settle the Wreckage and 4x Irrigated Farmland are the reasons to buy this product. This is a nice a starting core of a Control deck, but not sure it's worth an investment of $30.

If budget upgrading I would make a lot of changes. New main deck:

  • 1x Kefnet

  • 4x Censor
  • 3x Scatter
  • 3x Will
  • 1x Cancel
  • 4x Glimmer
  • 1x Pull from Tomorrow
  • 4x Cast
  • 2x Baffling
  • 2x Meltdown
  • 1x Farm
  • 3x Fumigate
  • 2x Settle
  • 3x Approach

  • 4x Farmland
  • 4x River
  • 2x Hub
  • 2x Ipnu
  • 6x Island
  • 6x Plains
  • 2x Ruin

New sideboard: 3x Negate, 2x Fragmentize, 2x more Baffling, 1x Ixalan's Binding, 4x Caracal, 2x Faith

In the end, if I was to buy one of these decks to just play right out of box I would get Counter Surge. If I wanted the best constructed decklist I would buy Vehicle Rush, but it requires upgrading the manabase to compete with Counter Surge. If I want the most monetary value for my $30, but the deck is not good out of box then I would get Hazoret Aggro.

The only deck I would avoid is Second Sun Control because I feel it's no good out of box requiring too many upgrades and Kefnet is a let down. Too bad the Mythic wasn't Torrential Gearhulk.

mmcgeach on Control Zur

1 week ago

Actually I really like the Dismember idea. I think its a great removal spell. Cheap, instant, kills pretty much everything (even Jin Gitaxias!). What more could you want?

Ran into some problems last week where another control deck just stopped everything I did. Then the combo deck won. Was frustrating, but probably something to fix via politics rather than deck changes. :/

Cartouche of Ambition has been super good so far. Its amazing the deck is now down to 2 total dead cards for the winconditions. It's just all interaction, all the time.

SaltySpecula on zur voltron

1 week ago

Not bad! May want to change to EDH type and you have to add your landbase. I'd suggest 36 lands, so you'll need to cut a few others.

I'd also suggest some extra support cards, specifically Retether and Three Dreams.

3 or less CMC value cards to consider ( not auto-includes, just value to consider )

Blessing of Leeches lose 1 life on your upkeep, unlimited regenerate creature. Too powerful not to include.

Asha's Favor Vigilance, First Strike

Aspect of Gorgon +1/+3 and Deathtouch

Cartouche of Ambition Lifelink and a -1/-1 counter on a creature of your choice.

Awesome Presence Offensive version of Propaganda.

Cho-Manno's Blessing Protection from colour of choice. Good for preventing damage and becoming unblockable.

Chromatic Armor Protection from colours of choice on the fly for mana.

Cloak of Mists Unblockable

Crab Umbra Pay 3 mana to untap Zur and it has totem armor.

Curiosity Draw cards when Zur deals any damage.

Daily Regimen 2 mana to put a permanent +1/+1 counter on creature as many times as you want.

Daybreak Coronet Bit more expensive, but 2 mana, +3/+3 first strike, vigilance and lifelink.

False Demise Cheat death once.

Glistening Oil infect for 2 mana.

Infinite Authority punishes opponents and rewards you with +1/+1 counters if they attack or block you.

Invisibility unblockable

Kithkin Armor 1 mana unblockable by power 3 or greater and sac the aura for prevention of damage to zur from one source

Pemmin's Aura On demand 1 mana shroud for turn and 1 mana to untap zur

Pretender's Claim tap down all lands defending player controlls

The 5 scarabs Red Scarab Blue Scarab Black Scarab Green Scarab White Scarab

Sadistic Glee +1/+1 counter every time any creature dies.

Shade's Form Pay 1 black as many times as you want to give creature +1/+1 until end of turn and when creature dies, return it to the battlefield under your control.

Skeletal Grimace +1/+1 and pay 1 black to regenerate this creature.

Sleeper's Robe Fear and draw a card when you deal combat damage

Strange Augmentation +1/+1 base, potentially +3/+3 for one mana if you have a few different types of cards in your graveyard.

Sultai Runemark +2/+2 deathtouch

Traveler's Cloak Draw a card and Zur gets landwalk for a land type of your choice.

Triclopean Sight Untaps Zur, gives him +1/+1 and vigilance.

Unholy Strength 1 mana +2/+1

auto-includes:Pariah Save's your ass. Pair with indestructability to ignore damage.

Auramancer's Guise +2/+2 for each enchantment. Very overpowered.

Entangler Zur can block all the creatures.

Righteous Authority Esper has +1/+1 buff problems. This will buff Zur significantly and give you additional card draw. With blue and black in your arsenal, card draw shouldn't be a problem.

Sage's Reverie Big +1/+1 buff and big card draw. Play late to mid game to turn Zur from a wimp into one shot killer.

Braingamer on Vamp Domination

1 week ago

Okay if you're going for an aggressive strategy I would say cut Call to the Feast and Queen's Commission for 4 Gifted Aetherborn. Also if you're going to have Trial of Solidarity then I would say add Cartouche of Solidarity and Cartouche of Ambition just so you get the effect continuously. also Vampire's Zeal and Supernatural Stamina main board. Also Gideon's Resolve is kinda bad if your aggro, it's a waste of a turn 5 play because all it does it give your creatures +1/+1 along with tutor an okay planeswalker. Also maybe only 2 Sanctum Seeker it's cmc is kinda high if your aggro. Also Yahenni is a mainboard if your aggro.

R3DSTON3R on Orzhov Vampires

2 weeks ago

I don't see the main focus of this deck. Are trying to get tokens out onto the field? or are you trying to get as many 1/1 counters out as you can? Also, there isn't enough land for this deck IMO. You shouldn't have any less than 22.


  • 4x Legion Lieutenant Keep these. They are useful.

  • 4x Gifted Aetherborn Will make people think twice.

  • Add Inspiring Cleric and remove Adanto Vanguard. Although, these cards could be used hand-in-hand. By that I mean attack with Adanto Vanguard and activate his ability for quick damage to player or creature and then play Inspiring cleric to get that health back. If you decide to go this route [keeping both cards] remove some 2 mana cost cards because you have a TON of 2 drop cards.

  • Remove Champion of Dusk. He seems like a good idea but trust me, he's not.

  • Remove Ravenous Chupacabra This card doesn't follow any theme you are going for here.

  • Try to get your creature count down to 22-25. Add in buff cards because you dont have a lot of powerful/ hard-hitters in this deck. My recommendations would be Cartouche of Ambition, Mark of the Vampire, and if you are going for a token deck then Squire's Devotion would really help out here.

  • Fatal Push is a great card but consider Walk the Plank for your sideboard maybe?

Hope this is helpful!

Austin_Smith_of_Cards on Mono-Black Anti-Heroic (Pauper)

3 weeks ago

You're probably running enough card types to use Strange Augmentation effectively, especially if you cycle Barren Moor.

Cartouche of Ambition seems like a decent enchantment. Shrink/kill something, and gives your dude lifelink to counter other Aggro strats.

You might want to run some spot removal; Paralyze is ineffective later in the game. Good old Doom Blade or Victim of Night ought to do it.

mmcgeach on Control Zur

3 weeks ago

@VelvetVendetta: Glad Counterbalance has worked out for you!

Re: Cartouche of Ambition

Yes! This card has been pretty strong. It's way less dead if you draw it than Daybreak Coronet which is almost literally uncastable. It's rare that the -1/-1 does anything important, but it's not unimaginable. I was winning a game against Gitrog where I stole The Gitrog Monster with Gilded Drake and then cast cartouche on the Gitrog, killing off his Dark Confidant. Turned Gitrog into a 3-turn clock with general damage, and drew me more cards off Necro. Was a pretty huge blowout.

Re: life gain.

I agree that 40 starting life is usually enough to engineer a win out of a black combo deck, but this is not that deck. I don't have a quick combo that I'm trying to draw into to win before anyone else can disrupt me. I'm trying to slow down other people until they run out of resources and then win. I think this is a major difference with your list, which has certain Buried Alive-fueled reanimation combos that can immediately end the game. My wincon is to get Zur enchanted with empyrial armor and win over a few turns - but it's critical to be able to keep drawing answers over those turns. I have to draw more counterspells every turn to deal with the threats and interaction my opponents deploy at me and at Zur. The lifegain-into-card-draw isn't winmore for me, it actually is the win. It's how the lock works.

There's also a lot of games where I'm low on life and need to refill. Sometimes I'm literally Necropotence locked where I don't have enough life to draw more cards, and I'm not drawing them naturally since I'm skipping my drawstep. Othertimes I just need more life to survive Mana Crypt or a few attacks. People always attack me and I don't have a creature presence, so the life total, it dwindles.

(Also Solitary Confinement + Empyrial Armor is less of a combo and more of a nonbo. You skip your draw step, discard a card, and every turn you're hitting for less with the empyrial armor. There's no way you'll have enough resources to protect your Zur or your Solitary Confinement. You need the Necropotence + lifegain to make it work.)

Re: Rule of Law vs. Arcane Laboratory

Fair points, all around. For now I don't actually want Arcane Laboratory in play that often (metagame matchups), and I'm happy to just pitch it to Force of Will, Misdirection, and Chrome Mox.

Re: Copy Enchantment

I don't know... it seems dead frequently. I don't think I need it to speed up the voltron win; I'd rather just have another counterspell (or, protection like Diplomatic Immunity or Vanishing) to help seal the deal, while still being useful at other times. Most other people don't play enchantments I'd want to copy, outside of Carpet of Flowers or Sylvan Library... if I'm in a position to copy someone's Animate Dead probably most of the damage is already done.

VelvetVendetta on Control Zur

3 weeks ago

Very nice, Cartouche of Ambition is way better than Daybreak if you are not planning to run Stasis anyways, still, are you sure you absolutely need a lifelink enchantment? I mean with Zur already hitting for 7+ why not just rely on Solitary Confinement to keep you alive?

I anticipate you would answer "but I want to draw more cards with Necro", my answer to that is "are you sure that's really necessary?" Seems like the epitome of a win-more case, you should be able to win with the first 20 cards (I win most games that I'm able to fetch Necro early, almost all of them tbh)

I missed my lifelink when I decided to drop it but over time I adjusted to this new reality so if needed I will fetch for confinement before things go really south, that is, if I cannot just draw 20 and kill people before they have their chance to kill me.

Perhaps you have a lot of blood pod on your LGS with Ruric Thars and Mirror Entities trying to chop your head off but even in that case I would go for more removals/wipe instead of a lifelink answer.

The key for dropping the lifelink is acknowledging that the cases you most need life, desperately for a "round two necro" are also the cases things are going south and you are most likely not able to hit with (or even cast) Zur at all, or perhaps locked in some combination of aven mindcensor/blood moon/stony silence, meaning you cannot benefit or fetch the lifelink anyways to get you out of this situation.

Whilist the most of the cases you're able to hit with Zur multiple times and use the extra life to draw even more cards with necro are usually games you would most likely already win just by hiting with Empyrial Armor and holding off with Solitary Confinement if things get a too scary.

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